helots(redirected from Helots in Sparta)
, city of ancient Greece, capital of Laconia, on the Eurotas (Evrótas) River in the Peloponnesus. Spartan Society
Sparta's government was headed by two hereditary kings furnished by two families; they were titular leaders in battle and in religion.
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the farm population of ancient Sparta, conquered by the Dorians.
Like the Thessalian penestai and the Cretan klarotai, the Helots were considered to be the property of the state, and they were bound to the cleruchial land sections owned by individual Spartans, who were members of the Spartan community. The Helots differed from slaves in that they owned the means of production needed to work the land and had their own farms. The owners of the land sections could neither sell nor kill Helots. The payment in kind (apophora) established by the state, which the Helots paid to their masters, amounted to approximately half of the crop; the remaining portion belonged to the Helots. The Helots greatly outnumbered their Spartan conquerors. They were not included in the Spartan community and did not enjoy any rights whatsoever. Unbridled exploitation and constant terror by the Spartans caused uprisings among the Helots, the most important of which was the so-called Second Messenian War (during the seventh century B.C.). In order to prevent Helot uprisings, the Spartans introduced the system of Kryptiai, who led periodic punitive expeditions against the Helots.
REFERENCELotze, D. “MetaxÝ eleuthérōvkái dúlōn.” Studien für Rechlsslellung unfreier Landbevölkerungen bis zum 4 Jh. v. Chr. Berlin, 1949.
N. I. GOLUBTSOVA